If you follow health and wellness social media sites, sporting magazines, tune into televised swimming events, or just go to the gym, you may have noticed a lot of people with reddish-purple marks formed in perfect circular patterns on backs and shoulders. Those spots are a sure sign of Cupping Therapy, a centuries-old form of alternative medicine. While it’s nothing new, cupping therapy came into the spotlight and started receiving tons of attention during the 2016 Olympics, when the record breaking swimmer, Michael Phelps, has tell-tale cupping marks speckled all over his back and shoulders. Since then, of course, this form of therapy has received tons of attention and has become extremely popular.
Perhaps you’re an athlete yourself, you’re an avid gym-goer, or you suffer from chronic back pain; whatever the case may be, if you’re interested in back cupping, there’s no doubt that you have some questions, and you’ve come to the right place! Below, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions related to cupping that we receive from clients.
Q: What is cupping?
A: Though it’s only recently become popularized in the mainstream, cupping therapy has (as mentioned above) been around for a long time. It’s believed to have first originated in China, when therapists applied suction to strategic points on the body. It was also practiced in ancient Egypt, Greece, Europe, and the Middle East as a way a natural way to treat a variety of ailments. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that Western medicine embraced and realized the benefits that cupping provides, thanks to holistic healers, acupuncturists, functional medicine doctors, and massage therapists.
Q: How does cupping therapy work?
A: Cupping therapy involves placing cups, most commonly made of glass, but can also be made of bamboo or earthen materials. Flammable materials, such as essential oils or paper, are placed inside the cups, they’re ignited to heat the interior of the cups. The flame is then extinguished and the cups are placed on strategic acupoints on the body – usually on the back and/or shoulders.
Q: What does cupping do?
A: When placed on the skin, the headed cups create a vacuum effect that pulls the skin away from the body, and thus the underlying muscles and connective tissues, improves blood flow to the areas where the cups are applied, and throughout the entire body, and helps to release and circulate stagnated toxins that are trapped in the tissues. The increased blood flow and released toxins improve oxygenation, which promotes healing, reduces inflammation, and helps relax the muscles.
Q: What can cupping treat?
A: Cupping can be used to treat a wide variety of ailments. Back cupping, for example, can help to loosen tight muscles and alleviate stiffness and pain in the upper and lower back. Cupping therapy can also be used to ease neck pain, as well as chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, and a whole host of other issues. It can relieve migraines, reduce cholesterol levels, ease coughing, bronchial congestion, and asthma, ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve varicose veins, minimize cellulite and stretch marks, improve digestion and relieve constipation, and it can even be an effective remedy for thalassemia and anemia. Some say that it can help to boost fertility, too. Of course, it also promotes relaxation, and when you’re relaxed, you feel more at-ease, so cupping can also enhance your mood.
Q: Is cupping painful?
A: Not really. Of course, you will feel a suction sensation, but you shouldn’t feel any pain. In the event that your muscles are really tight and your tissues are very stagnant, you may experience a degree of soreness; however, it should be quite slight, and it should subside. If, for any reason, you do feel any pain, let your therapist know, and they can loosen the strength of the cups to make you more comfortable.
Q: What to expect after cupping?
A: Once your session is complete, your therapist will remove the cups and you will be free to get dressed and return to your regular activities. At first, you’ll see red marks where the cups where, and those marks will turn into reddish-purplish circular spots. The color will progressively decrease each day. On average, it takes about 7 to 10 days for the skin to return to normal. Make sure you stay well-hydrated after your session by drinking plenty of water. Doing so will help to maintain circulation; plus, drinking plenty of water is always good for you, even when you aren’t cupping.
Q: When is the best time for cupping therapy?
A: If you’re an athlete and you’re making cupping a part of your training routine, scheduling an appointment for a session within about 24 hours of a serious workout is highly recommended, as you’ll want to give yourself a full day to recover from the therapy before you start working out or participating in your sport again.
Q: How often should I do cupping?
A: It depends on your specific needs and goals. If, for example, you’re an athlete and you’re actively training, frequent sessions may be your best bet; however, if you’re interested in detoxing and want to promote relaxation, once a month may do you well. Speak with your therapist about your objectives and they will be able to advise you about the ideal frequency of sessions.
Q: Is cupping safe for everyone?
A: As with all types of treatments – including natural therapies – cupping therapy may not be suitable for everyone. Generally, it is considered safe for the vast majority of healthy adults; however, for some individuals, it isn’t recommended. For instance, those who have blood disorders, such as hemophilia, and cancer patients should avoid cupping. Cupping should also be avoided by those with heart disease or kidney disease or kidney failure. Additionally, if you’re pregnant or you think you could be pregnant, cupping is not recommended.
Looking for Cupping Massage Near Me?
If you’re interested in learning more about cupping therapy or you’d like to schedule your first appointment, get in touch with us today! We’re looking forward to helping you improve your health and well-being so that you can feel your absolute best.